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The Venezuelan pilot rebelled died under the fire of the police

Ⓒ afp/AFP/Archivos – INAKI ZUGASTI – | The pilot and ex-Venezuelan Óscar Pérez in an image of July 13, 2017, when he participated in a protest against the government in Caracas

The ex-policeman and pilot Óscar Pérez, who carried out actions of high media impact against the government of Nicolás Maduro, died in a capture operation deployed on Monday by police and military forces in the outskirts of Caracas.

The Interior Minister, General Néstor Reverol, included Pérez in the list of “seven deceased terrorists” -among them a woman- and showed his photographs, on government television, putting an end to the official silence on the fate of the former police officer scientific

Perez, 36, was the most wanted man by the Venezuelan authorities since June 27 overflying Caracas in a police helicopter with some of his men, throwing four grenades at the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) and firing at him. Ministry of the Interior

The attack – without victims – occurred amid a wave of protests against President Nicolás Maduro, which left about 125 dead between April and July 2017.

Seven months later, military and police commandos carried out the “Operation Gideon” on Monday morning against the ex-policeman and his men, whom they surrounded in a house on the road to El Junquito, 25 km northwest of Caracas.

Reverol said that six other members of the group, four men and two women, are “detained” and “being prosecuted”; while two policemen died and eight were “seriously” injured.

Accompanied by senior military and police, the minister said that the “acts committed by this criminal gang qualify” as “terrorism, constituting clear and flagrant attacks against democratic institutions.”

Rocío San Miguel, president of the NGO Control Ciudadano for Security, Defense and the Armed Forces, told AFP that Perez’s action seemed isolated.

“The area chosen to hide, the few acts carried out in seven months and the absence of guard personnel to guard or respond to the attack does not imply the existence of an articulated and experienced network to carry out terrorist actions or to overthrow the government,” said the expert. .

– “We do not authorize your cremation” –

The death of Pérez has provoked controversy in the country. In fifteen videos that he posted on Instagram during the operation, the pilot, with his face bloodied, had accused the authorities of wanting to kill them, even though they were willing to surrender.

“They are firing at us with big snipers, we said that we were going to surrender and they do not want to let us surrender, they want to kill us,” Pérez said in one of his last messages in the middle of a shootout.

Ⓒ AFP – JUAN BARRETO – | Officials of the Intelligence Service (Sebin) patrol in Caracas on January 15, 2018

But the government says it was Perez and his men who attacked. “Despite all attempts to achieve a peaceful and negotiated solution, this terrorist group started in an artful way (…) a confrontation,” said Reverol.

After the minister’s report, the pilot’s wife, Dana Vivas, who shortly before had asked for a “proof of life,” asked the authorities to allow them to identify the body.

“The family demands that the Venezuelan government identify the body of Oscar Pérez, and we do not authorize his cremation,” Vivas, who went abroad with his three children, said on his Twitter.

Aminta Pérez, mother of the pilot, had described the operation as a “massacre”.

The human rights NGO Provea accused the government of promoting a “violent outcome”; while the Criminal Forum denounced the participation of “irregular groups of armed civilians” -known popularly as collectives-in the operation.

– “The tragedy” of the pilot –

Very active in social networks, Pérez broadcast videos to call Venezuelans to rebel against “the dictatorship” and publish his blows against the government.

Last December, he led a command that assaulted a military base in the Laguneta town (north), and took 26 Kalashnikov rifles, pistols and ammunition.

Maduro then accused the United States of being behind the attack and called for “lead against terrorists.” “Anyone who enters the path of terrorism (…) will have the timely response of our Armed Forces and police forces,” he reiterated on Monday.

Before the helicopter attack, Perez, an amateur actor with blue eyes and a Hollywood star appearance, was already well known, as he starred in the action film ‘Muerte Suspendida’ in 2015.

“The tragedy of Oscar Pérez is that he was only taken seriously after his death,” said San Miguel, noting that Venezuelans face, in addition to a severe economic and political crisis, the “division and mistrust between them”.

According to the expert on military issues, this is “fed by the government with disinformation strategies, intelligence bodies and the use of social networks to dehumanize their adversaries, assuming a communicational hegemony.”

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